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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Educational Collaboratives-Authorization to Commissioner to Approve Collaborative Agreements

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
February 15, 2013

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Chapter 43 of the Acts of 2012, the comprehensive amendment to G.L. c. 40, § 4E, the statute authorizing educational collaboratives, requires all existing collaboratives to amend their collaborative agreements to comply with the new requirements of the amended law. Under the law, all collaborative agreements, including subsequent amendments, must be approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board), upon the recommendation of the Commissioner. Specifically, subsection (c) of G.L. c. 40, § 4E, as amended, includes the following provision:

(c) …No agreement or subsequent amendments shall take effect unless approved by the member school committees and member charter school boards and by the board of elementary and secondary education upon the recommendation of the commissioner.

Currently there are about 30 educational collaboratives in Massachusetts, each of which must amend its collaborative agreement and submit it to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) for approval this spring. Several collaboratives have already submitted their agreements for review, and we expect to receive all the agreements over the next month. The collaboratives are hoping to receive ESE approval of their revised agreements as quickly as possible in order to meet the new requirements of the law and, in some cases, to allow for admission of new members.

The Board has set the policy standards for the approval of collaborative agreements, by adopting the Regulations on Educational Collaboratives, 603 CMR 50.00, at the meeting on January 29, 2013. The process of reviewing and approving the individual collaborative agreements is an operational responsibility that rests on those policy standards. For that reason, and in light of the volume and immediacy of the task, I recommend that the Board vote this month to delegate to the Commissioner the task of approving all collaborative agreements, including subsequent amendments, after conducting a detailed review to ensure that each agreement complies with the law and the policy standards set forth in the regulations. I would report to the Board on any collaborative agreements or amendments that I have approved or disapproved, later this spring and periodically thereafter.

The Board may delegate this approval authority to the Commissioner pursuant to G.L. c. 15, §1F, paragraph 3, which reads as follows:

The board may delegate its authority or any portion thereof to the commissioner whenever in its judgment such delegation may be necessary or desirable. The commissioner shall exercise such delegated powers and duties with the full authority of the board.

With the Board's authorization this month, Department staff will proceed with the review process according to the collaborative statute and regulations and I will issue the approvals. I expect to report to the Board in May 2013 on all the collaborative agreements that I have approved or disapproved. As well, I will report periodically thereafter on any new agreements or amendments to agreements that I approve.

Enclosed is a motion to authorize the Commissioner to approve collaborative agreements. If you have any questions regarding this recommendation or require additional information, please contact Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner, at 781-338-6500; or me.



Last Updated: February 19, 2013
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